Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012
PRINCE EDWARD – County supervisors held a public hearing and approved an amendment to the County's zoning ordinance at their December 13 meeting to allow commercial outdoor sports and recreation in the County's A-1 (Agricultural Conservation) Zoning district by special use permit.
“We've had, I know, at least three separate inquiries concerning uses that would fall under this in the last year, alone, that we could not allow because it's not allowed in that A-1 zone,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett highlighted. “While the A-1 is to conserve…agriculture and forestry, there are uses that would apply.”
The planning commission previously held a public hearing and approved the adoption of the proposed amendment.
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Information in the board packet outlines that the majority of the county is zoned A-1 “and there are uses which might be compatible and should be given consideration, while maintaining a special-use status so that the community is given the chance to decide upon whether these uses are appropriate for their proposed areas.”
Typical uses included driving ranges, miniature golf, swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor racquetball courts, motorized cart and motorcycle tracks and motorized model airplane flying facilities.
There were no speakers for the board's public hearing, but Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones cited that one resident in Lockett, not far from the High Bridge Trail, wants to put in an outdoor activity park.
Supervisors unanimously reappointed Chris Mason as a County representative on the Planning Commission. Mason, one of two seeking the appointment and the current vice-chairman of the commission, addressed the board in the public participation portion of the meeting. He offered that he has enjoyed serving on the commission and that if the board sees fit to reappoint him, that he would “greatly appreciate the opportunity to continue in that capacity.”
Board members also recommended Vincent Eanes be reappointed to the County's board of zoning appeals. While the board can recommend, the circuit court judge makes appointments to the board of zoning appeals.
Minus objections, Board Chairman William “Buckie” Fore reappointed fellow supervisors Howard Simpson, Robert “Bobby” Jones and Charles McKay to the Granite Falls Community Development Authority (CDA) and appointed supervisor-elect Pattie Cooper-Jones to replace supervisor Mattie Wiley. (Ms. Cooper-Jones was selected as the new supervisor from Farmville District 801.)
Fore also appointed McKay to serve on the Southside Virginia Family YMCA board, a term that extends to December 31, 2013, and Simpson to serve on the Crossroads Community Services Board, a term that extends to December 31, 2012. Ms. Wiley, whose term ends December 31, had served as the board's representative to both.
County supervisors have studied the use of the Sandy River Reservoir as a public water source, but have yet to make a decision. Two speakers voiced their support for the County at least moving forward with a water intake.
“…I've heard people talk about low income and they need help and the best way to give people help is to bring jobs and industry to this area. And one of those best ways to get that here is infrastructure,” commented Kenneth Jackson.
He offered that now is the time to “get serious as a board and as our governing body.” He encouraged the board to “at least move forward with the intake.”
He noted, “But… sitting here, having spent…money over the decades and just to let it go to waste is ridiculous and it's wrong,” Jackson said. “This county has the potential to build all the way down (Route) 15, have the potential to bring jobs here.”
He offered that Prince Edward could be the hub of area counties.
Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck offered that with no customers, the cost is prohibitive.
“Whether we get regional cooperation or not,” Bemeche Hicks offered, “we still have a county that we have to look out for.”
Hicks petitioned the board to move forward with the intake, “at least that much, so that that way we can at least have a foothold in doing something to move forward, that the county would be able to prosper and we will be able to build the infrastructure for, not just now, but for our future in hopes that jobs will come to this area and the county will grow as such.”
*It was reported that the board's personnel committee met and discussed the starting salary of the sheriff-elect. The committee recommended, and the board approved, that the sheriff-elect be placed at grade 26, step 12 on the county's pay plan, which is an annual salary of $85,474.22. It is $5,619 less than the incumbent and-combined with VRS, workers comp and FICA, is a total decrease in county costs of $6,847.
*Supervisors approved and presented a resolution of respect for Ms. Wiley. Her four-year term on the board ends December 31. Fore read the resolution prior to presenting it to Ms. Wiley. The resolution reads, in part, that Ms. Wiley “has served her fellow Prince Edward County citizens with a commitment to open government” and that “during her career in public service, Mattie P. Wiley has established a reputation for dedication and integrity…”
*Cornell Walker, speaking in public comment, followed up on a request for County assistance in improving a home site on Dry Bridge Road.
“Has the board been able to do anything-even if it's just get us permission to clean it up?” he asked.
Bartlett offered that the quick answer is no, that they did track down the mortgage company and that he's attempted “to contact the person; they've not returned the call to ask that question.” He said that they'll continue to try and do that.
Walker offered that it's an eyesore.
*Supervisors approved a consent agenda that includes acceptance and appropriation of $106,829 in funds remaining from a $350,000 agribusiness grant received from the Tobacco Commission in 2010. The funds will aim to improve operations at the cannery and foster commercial use of the facility.
*While there was no representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation on hand for the meeting, there was a concern to relay to the department. Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell cited that there's a dead pine tree on Rt. 460 east in Hudson's Bottom leaning in the top of two other trees and is getting ready to fall in the road.
Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt asked about the funding situation for VDOT regarding snow removal for secondary roads.
“I think I read somewhere that they are better prepared budget-wise this year for snow removal,” cited Assistant County Administrator Sarah Puckett.
Bartlett added that it was statewide.